KOTA KINABALU: Two Upko assemblymen who were aligned to Tan Sri Musa Aman have joined their party members in supporting Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, barely 24 hours after he was sworn in as chief minister.
The two had kept faith with Barisan Nasional and Musa, even though their own party (Upko) decided to leave the coalition on Thursday.
The two assemblymen – Datuk Masiung Banah (Kuamut) and Datuk Limus Jury (Kuala Penyu) – are now supporting Parti Warisan Sabah and its partners DAP and PKR.
Three former Barisan parties – Upko, LDP and PBRS – have also declared that they intend to support this coalition.
Their move boosts the number of assemblymen in the new Sabah coalition government to 37 seats, just three short of a two-thirds majority in the 60-member state assembly.
Masiung and Limus did not abide by Upko’s initial decision to leave Barisan.
Masiung was also in the short-lived Cabinet of Musa.
But the fast-changing scenario of Sabah’s political musical chairs saw Musa losing his majority on Friday.
By 9pm on Saturday, the Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin had sworn in Shafie after he had shown that he now commanded the support of the majority of assemblymen.
Meanwhile, two more Umno representatives – Sugut assemblyman Datuk James Ratib and Pitas assemblyman Datuk Bolkiah Ismail – have expressed their support for Shafie’s leadership.
Shafie told reporters at his Taman Golfview residence here after receiving a visit from Masiung, Limus, Ratib and Bolkiah, that they have now decided to support Warisan as they no longer have a government on the Barisan side.
This is despite Musa claiming that he is still the rightful chief minister and has refused to step down.
“I don’t know how Musa can claim that he is still chief minister when all the members are out,” said Shafie, adding that he has not made a decision on the two Umno assemblymen.
Shafie said once Juhar had confidence that Warisan and its partners Upko, PKR and DAP had enough seats to form the state government, he had called Musa to ask for his resignation on Saturday morning.
Musa has not stepped down yet and insists he is still the chief minister.
He even chaired the first “state Cabinet” meeting after meeting with Juhar.
When asked about Sabahans condemning the act of party hopping, especially from Umno into the opposing camp, Shafie said it was up to the assemblymen to decide whose side they wanted to be on.
He also said the two Upko assemblymen are not considered to be party hopping as they are merely following Upko’s move, which is now with Warisan and its partners.
Earlier, Shafie attended his first official function as chief minister.
He accompanied Juhar, who officiated the 5th Sabah FCAS (Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah) International Dragon Boat Race 2018 at Likas Bay here.
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